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Cultivating Hope in Allah

Hope, forgiveness, love. This is your religion. And you believe in God Who is The giver of Hope, The ultimate Forgiver and The One Who loves you. 

Here are some notes I made while reading a book I have befriended: Purification of the Soul.

Having hope in Allah is the state of the heart that waits for what is dear to it.

If what you're waiting for is certain to happen anyway, then neither can certain hope expecting it make it change its state: once cannot say "I wish the sun would rise at sunrise", but one can say, "I wish it would rain."

When you embark on studying religion you are taught that this world is like land which is cultivated for its fruits in the next world: that the heart is like the earth, that belief is like the seeds, and the acts of obedience are like ploughing up the soil and clearing it for planting and digging channels to bring water to it.

The heart which is in love with this world is like barren earth. Seeds cannot sprout in it. The Day of Resurrection is like the day of the harvest, and no one will reap what they didn't sow.

No seed other than the seed of belief can grow, and belief rarely brings forth any fruit if the heart is rotten, dark and lacking morality. When you wonder why there are problems in your life when you thought it 'would be like this', you must look internally and reflect on the state of your heart.

In the same way that seeds don't sprout in concrete, seeking Allah's forgiveness can be compared to the work of a farmer:
  • Search for fertile soil
  • Sow it with healthy seeds
  • Supply it with food when malnourished
  • Pull out weeds and any other pests that will ruin the growth of the crops
  • Then wait for Allah's blessings in the form of good weather, protection from harm, ripe fruits and veg.
  • Then this waiting can be described as hope...
...As opposed to a person who:
  • Throws seeds into concrete, hard, barren soil, which is too high for water to reach it
  • Does nothing to care for the seedlings, no greenhouse, no food, no water, no wind protection
  • And then sits waiting for a healthy harvest?
  • Then that effort amounts to nothing. It's hopeless. Stupidity.
So, the term hope applies to working and waiting for something to happen, after you have made all the efforts within your power to realise that desire.

You see, if you sow the seed of belief in a heart that is soft enough to accept it, then only good can come from it. But you have to come back to it for maintenance.

Water the seed of faith with obedience and worship of Allah. Purify that 'soil' which is in essence the heart from bad elements.

With these gardening skills mastered to an art, Allah blesses you with exactly what you were hoping for. Allah jalla wa ‘alā says,
"Indeed, those who have believed and those who have emigrated and fought in the cause of Allah - those expect the mercy of Allah. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful." (Qur'an, 2:218)
There are levels of hope. You can sit and wait or get up and work for it, relying on Allah throughout your job and hoping for His approval at the end.

It should be pointed out that anyone who hopes for something must satisfy three conditions:
          1) Firstly, you should hold dear what you hope for.
Is it tangible, reasonable, legitimate? What are you loving so much?
          2) You should be afraid of missing it.
          3) Thirdly, you should strive through challenging work to achieve that thing.

If hope in God isn't connected to anyone of these prerequisites, then all you have is wishful thinking. Hope is a different matter all together.

Allah brings us closer through this,
"Say, 'O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful"." (Qur'an, 39:53)
He also reminds us that He is The Forgiver,
"...indeed, your Lord is full of forgiveness for the people despite their wrongdoing..." (Qur'an, 13:6)
Awesome Ahadith

Abu Huraira relates that he heard the Prophet of Allah, Allah's peace and blessings be upon him, say:
"When Allah created the creation, He decreed something for Himself, and a clear record is with Him confirming that: 'Truly, My Mercy prevails over My wrath'." (Al-Bukhari, Kitab Bad`al-Wahy, 6/287; Muslim, Kitab at-Tawba, 17/68)
On the authority of Anas, the Prophet of Allah, Allah's peace and blessings be upon him said,
"Allah, exalted is He, said: Oh son of Adam, as long as you call on Me, and ask of Me, I will forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind.

Oh son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you.

O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, and were you then to face Me without having associated anything with Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly a great as it." (Hasan, at-Tirmidhi, Kitab ad-Da`awat, 9/524, classified as hasan gharib)

Having hope isn't a free ticket to forgiveness either.

Yahya ibn Mu`adh said,
"In my opinion, the worst kind of self-delusion is for someone to sin excessively and then to hope for forgiveness without feeling any remorse;

Or it is to expect to draw near to Allah, the Exalted, without obeying or worshipping Him; or it is to hope for the fruits of the Garden after having only planted the seeds for the Fire;

Or it is to seek the abode of the obedient through committing wrong actions;

Or it is to expect a reward after having done nothing worthwhile;

Or it is to place hope in Allah, Glorious and Mighty is He, after having exceeded all the limits."

So the question now stands, do you hope for forgiveness when you have not trodden its paths.

A ship does not sail on dry land.

Taken from The Purification of the Soul, compiled from the works of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, and Abu Hamidal-Ghazali.

More like this:
- 5 Degrees of Prayer, From The Invocation of God
- Wrapping Muslims in Love, Prophet Muhammad's Lessons

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